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Welcome, Comrade to The Green Leap Forward
Welcome to The Green Leap Forward, a side project for my Principled Bicycling Substack. I felt like I needed to do some deeper dives into Climate Change and associated policies and tie it back as it pertains to bicycling advocacy issues but I also want this content to somewhat stand on its own.
And as an obligatory disclaimer:
I’M NOT ARGUING THAT CLIMATE CHANGE DOES NOT EXIST, so please lay off with the “Climate Change Denier" accusations.
The Green Leap Forward is a slight play on the Great Leap Forward, which was a period in the history of the People’s Republic of China roughly between 1958 and 1962 where the Communist Leader Chairman Mao Zedong sought to radically and rapidly change China from a primarily agrarian society to a communist one. This was a part of Mao’s great utopian vision for a China with Communist Characteristics as it was often called and intended to rapidly develop both China’s agricultural sector and their industrial sector. To but it bluntly, the former mostly resembled extremely primitive agriculture with no mechanized farm equipment and the latter lacking the capability to make simple building materials such as steel or concrete.
Mao’s commitment to increasing steel production for example sought to double said production within one year. This was attempted by so-called “backyard furnaces” which were constructed by every day Chinese rural citizens literally in their (former) back yards. These farmers lacked knowledge of basic metallurgically and were often even illiterate to begin with. The Chinese Communist vision, much like every other Communist vision assumed each person was of the same abilities so they saw no problem in these people making something as complicated as steel in rudimentary furnaces. The primary fuel source to heat these furnaces were taken from surrounding forests as opposed to coking coal until they were stripped completely nude. Later the wood was taken from buildings. Much of the steel produced was of extremely low quality and consistency and typically was just melted steel from scrap metal. Mao detested intellectuals in the cities who could have instructed these people on how to properly extract iron ore, burn high density fuels, construct proper furnaces, and make high quality steel.
Mao’s plan also consisted of the famous Four Pests Campaign. The idea was to eliminate rats, flies, mosquitos, and sparrows. All creatures were seen to be unhygienic and responsible for the plague, swarming flies and maggots, the plague, and one specific bird (nevermind a species whose range is nearly the entire Eurasian continent) in particular were one species who ate grains and fruits of The People. It turns out, sparrows eat locusts and without sparrows to eat the locusts, such locusts were able to take over, resulting in grotesque levels of crop failure. Oops. Mao eventually begged the Soviet government to give them 250,000 sparrows to fix the ordeal.
Other failed programs of the Great Leap Forward consisted of horrific failed crop experiments influenced by Soviet imbecile Lysenko. Lysenko denied the traditional (Mendelian) theory of genetics long used to cross breed and enhance crops and instead embraced his own insidious delusions. Honestly the specifics of what he believed and pushed on the USSR is a bit out of my wheel house but ultimately he believed plant seeds needed to be assigned by “class” and were not allowed to out compete or be superior to one another. In other words, it was weird ass Communist shit applied to seeds. Ultimately this resulted in very poor agricultural output which caused food shortages and famines in the USSR His concepts were copied with much fanfare by Mao in China during the Great Leap Forward, also resulting in a horrific famine. This, mind you, was on top of the nearly literal Biblical plague of locusts.
This is only scratching the surface of the atrocities that comprised of only a sliver of Mao’s regime in China. Reading into the details of famines, especially more modern ones where ample documentation occurred along with photographic evidence will make any fairly normal person exert tears. A phenomenal source if you want to learn more about this period of China and the ones that followed is Frank Dikötter who write three books about Mao’s China: The Tragedy of Liberation, Mao’s Great Famine, and The Cultural Revolution. And if you want to learn about the horrific coverup that won the New York Times a damned Pulitzer Prize which those arrogant snobs have to this day not returned, check out how the NYT covered up the Soviet-caused famine in Ukraine in the 1930’s.
My primary thesis in this publication is to analyze, summarize, and comment on the rapid ascent to a new policy paradigm being brought on rapidly due to Climate Change and its associated tradeoffs which are seldom discussed let alone understood by the cheerleaders of such movements. In Mao’s time, every Chinese person needed to be made “equal” rapidly, and in our modern era, we’re told the word as we know it going to end unless we rapidly do a number of things to stop and potentially reverse it. In both cases, human flourishing and often the environment itself are sacrificed for an ideology which sacrifices both.
The title, Green Leap Forward is meant to mock the arrogance of Statist central planning, the denial of human nature, the ignorance of elementary energy concepts, and the tragic over trust in the State, let alone the insane assumption that nearly 200 of them to work together to “save the planet.”